Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Meaning of Vespers will Blow Your Mind

I don't know about you, but I sometimes tend to rush thru Vespers. I'm a housewife, after all, and from 4pm thru 630 pm I'm going thru this cycle:
worrying that I don't have a recipe in mind yet for dinner
figuring out what I'm going to fix for dinner--searching my recipe file, cookbooks, online sites
running meat thru the defrost cycle in the microwave
fixing dinner
serving/eating dinner
cleaning up after dinner.

If I squeeze vespers in anywhere during this period, the upcoing phase in my dinner cycle will be a mental distraction. If I wait til after dinner, I am still usually "sandwiching" it in just before the next activity of the evening.   If I put it off until 9pm, I feel like I've missed the proper window and ought to just skip ahead to Compline.

Yeah, I know. First world Catholic problems.

But today a friend alerted me to a wonderful article by a young theology student all about Vespers. Now that I've read it, I can't wait until its time to do Vespers, and I know I am going to make time for it, use my print breviary to slow me down, find a quiet spot in the house to pray. And I'll light a candle in my prayer spot.

Briefly, the article traces the history of vespers: it's links to Old Testament sacrificial offerings, to the early Christian agape feast, and as a non-sacramental commemoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus. But my short summary does no justice at all to the actual article so please go and read it.  Make sure to listen to the video/audio clip of the Phos Hilaron, the traditional vespers hymn in the Byzantine rite.

Do this, and I promise your next recitation of vespers will be transformed, as you pray with the awareness that you are not just reciting psalms, but offering a sacrifice. 


  1. The Sound of Heaven on Earth

    1. Peter, if you go to the link where it says wonderful article it will take you to the article

  2. DAria,
    I am sorry but the link does not work for me here. Is there another way to access the article mentioned? I would love to read it, as I do all things you recommend.

  3. Never mind, just got it...sorry...

  4. Hi Daria, I was wondering if you or anybody has read Sacrifice of Praise by Vilma Little, and could give me a comment please?

  5. Hi Norman,

    I have not read Sacrifice of Praise by Vilma Little, although I also wondered about the book after reading the article. I did a Google search to see what could be seen. It appears that the book is available to be read online at:;view=1up;seq=22

    It might be hard to read an entire book online (my eyes don't like it much, anyway...), but you might be able to at least get a feel for the book. Perhaps if read in small increments, it wouldn't be too bad to go through it online.

    Karen Koch

  6. They fashioned a calf at Horeb
    and worshiped an image of metal,
    exchanging the God who was their glory
    for the image of a bull that eats grass.

    They forgot the God who was their savior,
    who had done such great things in Egypt,
    such portents in the land of Ham,
    such marvels at the Red Sea.

    Taken from Office of Readings for Saturday in Week 6 of Easter after Ascension

    1. Yes, that struck me today too. Thinking about the idols we Americans have fashioned for ourselves and when the day of reckoning might come.

  7. Hi Daria, I have a question : why do we not have a week six of ordinary time this year? Week five was just before Lent and Monday (May 16) starts week seven. Does it have to do with where Easter fell this year? -Tami

  8. Hi Daria, I have a question : why do we not have a week six of ordinary time this year? Week five was just before Lent and Monday (May 16) starts week seven. Does it have to do with where Easter fell this year? -Tami

    1. Tami, you have me stumped. Your guess that it is related to this years early Easter might be on the right track, but I can't yet figure out why: there's always 52 weeks in a year, after all. I think I'll post this and see if any readers have the answer. It's probably in church documents somewhere but I don't have the time today to go hunting.

    2. Okay, I've done some thinking and searching and learned a few things which now constitute today's post. Thanks for bringing this up.